MONTREAL – The Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations says it will decide by next week whether to proceed with a human-rights complaint against McGill University for its refusal to find space for a Muslim prayer room on campus. Muslim students lost the space they'd been using this week when an agreement, made with the university in 1998, ran out. McGill says students are free to find a quiet place to pray on campus, but the university will no longer provide them with a prayer room. The controversy has been brewing for months. It came to a head on Tuesday, when McGill changed the locks to the prayer room it plans to convert to an archaeology lab. . .
But the executive director of the Canadian Council for American-Islamic Relations, Riad Saloojee, says McGill's position is at odds with at least 20 other universities across Canada. "The law doesn't say that self-professed secular institutions can escape from the duty to accommodate religious needs or other needs," he says. Saloojee says McGill's celebrated diversity makes it even more surprising that it's unwilling to find space on campus for observant Muslims who want to continue to gather in one place to pray.